The Purpose of Writing

Why do we write? It’s a question we often ask ourselves amidst the struggle of developing a story or writing a novel. Once our writing reaches a stagnation point – when the enjoyment of it becomes work – we stop. During that moment, I ask myself: Why am I writing this? It’s simple to think we will complete a writing project and no one will read it. It won’t have an effect on the world. It is also tempting to think this about anything in life. Why go through the effort? While working on a separate project for my professional career, I came across the following quote: “The English author and essayist Samuel Johnson said, ‘The only aim of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life or better to endure it.’ This happens, we think, because great authors lead readers to find or make meaning in their own lives.” I found this quote very powerful the moment I read it. The only aim of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life or better to endure it. To return to my original goals, and to further expand upon what I noted about writing in my interview with Andrew Hall, I hope that through my writing, I’m able to equip my readers with a sense of joy through the story; I intend to provide a sense of being which allows them to endure whatever moments they must. This is my purpose for writing. Source: Rosenbach, William[…] [Keep Reading]

Setting – Why I Chose Saturn’s Moon: Daphnis

The prologue is complete at 2,500 words. Finally. I went through this many times, adding content, revising character names and deleting it entirely to re-write it twice. I tried putting as much into the first pages of the novel as possible, while finding a balance between establishing the setting and capturing the reader’s attention. Our story begins when a distress signal from an unknown source on Daphnis is received by a protectorate patrol ship. The ship lands on the moon to investigate. I chose Daphnis as the setting because I wanted the opportunity to explore the moon in detail. The moon orbits Saturn within the Keeler Gap in the rings. Its gravity impacts the nearby edges of the rings by creating waves with opposing amplitudes moving away from moon in different directions. How fascinating would it be to stand on Daphnis, looking at the huge waves of the rings, with Saturn itself looming in the background? Many of the edits to the prologue concerned Daphnis’ geography. What is the surface of Daphnis like? Humanity hasn’t been close enough to know. The closest photo we have that I’m aware of is from 2017. One of our characters originally stepped out of their ship onto bare rock, but after more thought on this, I changed the surface of Daphnis to have a fine dust. If Daphnis has a gravitational force significant enough to impact Saturn’s rings, perhaps it also brings any nearby dust particles from the rings to its surface. (I’m sure there[…] [Keep Reading]

“Creating Awesome” with Andrew Hall

I was recently interviewed by my fellow creative friend Andrew Hall – a photographer, entrepreneur and freelancer. His photography is incredible, with several different projects surrounding a potentially apocalyptic future. What’s intriguing about Andrew’s interview series, Creating Awesome, is the depth to which he is able to go with his interviewees. From business futurists to artists and writers, this interview series is a great resource for other creatives looking to connect. Some of my favorite quotes from the interviews: B. K. Bass: “One of my biggest motivations for writing is to leave something worthwhile behind after I’m gone. I want to contribute something to our society, and my writing is how I want to go about doing that.” Ron Gavalik: “A lot of writers don’t realize the power they hold.” Jack Uldrich: “The biggest change is that the rate of change is changing–it’s getting faster!” Wolfgang Muchow: “It’s all about story and character.” Robert Marzullo: “Produce something every day.” Cliff England: “I would rather do it myself and fail, then wait around for months or years for someone to give me permission or approval to do something.” Eric Ninaltowski: “If you’re young, don’t waste time. If you’re old, don’t waste time.” Ron Gavalik: “If you don’t know your truth, put down the pen and live a while. Figure out who you are and what makes you tick.” Liam Wong: “Make sure it will be fun and feasible – something that will keep me on track and that I will still be[…] [Keep Reading]

Starting a Novel

I wrote previously about my 2020 writing goals and my commitment to finishing the fourth draft of my science fiction novel in 2020. As part of that commitment, I intend to blog every two weeks about what I’m learning from the writing process. In this post, I intend to address my struggles with completing the first few chapters. There’s a lot of material required in the first chapter of a novel, and the pressure to fit it all in is causing me to over-analyze and continuously outline instead of write. However, this constant analyzing is causing me to grow anxious because I’m not truly writing. Many writers I previously interviewed discuss the concepts of beginning a novel at length. The first sentence is essential in capturing the reader’s attention. An agent will decide if they will read on based upon the first paragraph. The main characters need to be introduced on the first page. The story world should be clear by the end of the first chapter. Conflict should be established to create forward progression of the story. I find it overwhelming. Without planning and outlining the entire novel before writing, how can I pack all that material into the first few pages? I just want to write! In a recent blog post, Cal Newport discussed how Charles Dickens had “A Christmas Carol” planned out in its entirety prior to writing the book. That’s an impressive feat. While I’ve had the novel’s story world in my head for several years now, I’m[…] [Keep Reading]

2020 Writing Goals

I always commit to too many goals and projects. For example, in 2019, not only was I going to finish the next draft of my novel, but I would write a twenty-episode podcast, publish a collection of short stories, and publish my non-fiction blog project. None of those things happened. And I’m glad they didn’t. Instead, I spent my time developing other important and essential areas of my life. After much reflection on productivity and goal setting the last few years, I’m committing to a much simpler set of writing goals in 2020. I’m setting two goals: First, I will finish the fourth draft of my science fiction novel. Second, I intend to blog about the writing experience at least every two weeks. I hope readers of my short stories and my fellow writing friends will enjoy this journey with me.  Cheers, and good luck with your goals and projects in 2020. Let’s make it a great year. [Keep Reading]

THE SCHLIKT Audio

Halloween 2018 was one of my personal favorites. We had a great many riveting writers sharing their work via audio for the Kyanite Press Special Halloween Edition. A special thanks again to the team at Kyanite Press for promoting such a fun way to share the Halloween spirit. If you haven’t picked up your copy, it’s a great edition. Also be sure to check out the audio version of my short story, THE SCHLIKT, for what I hope to be a riveting experience for my readers (and now my listeners).  [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #20 – Joseph Pascale

Highlights The history of a writer’s first draft. Pen and notebook geekery. Different mediums for writing (notebooks, computers and typewriters) and their effects on our writing. Like many writers, a trail of failed novels came before this one, but they were only failures in the sense that they weren’t completed, not that I didn’t learn from them. Welcome to the twentieth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with writer Joseph Patrick Pascale about his blog and new book, HOW TO GET A PROMOTION WHEN YOUR BOSS IS TRYING TO KILL YOU, which comes out September 1, 2018. Arthur: You have an awesome blog where you discuss many of the fascinating physical tools associated with writing: the notebook, in a series you titled THE PHYSICAL WRITING PROCESS. How much research did you have to do to write each article? What inspired you to start this project? Joseph: It can take quite a bit of research to gather sufficient material to write one of these articles. The series explores how writers are approaching their first draft stage. What tools do they use? What form have they created before they type it up into a proper manuscript? That’s not something writers always talk about, so it often has to be pieced together. Reading through several interviews, I can sometimes find bits and pieces of their approach to build a picture of their drafting process.[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #18 – Bill Ricardi

Highlights Developing maps and world building for fantasy stories. The importance of a book’s first line and how it is a promise to the reader of what’s to come. Our writing space and setting rules to free ourselves from distraction. I’m a proponent of the short, sharp paragraph. Welcome to the eighteenth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with fantasy writer Bill Ricardi about focus and the importance of writing a books’ first sentences. Arthur: I always love a book that starts out with a map. In ANOTHER STUPID SPELL, how did you develop Panos? How much world-building did you do before (or during) the writing of the book? Bill: Panos had about a month of backstory work before I wrote a single word that appears in the actual book. I started with the major gods, since I knew that they would be pivotal to the story. Then the Orc nations, because that was going to be my character’s main focus. The magic system came next, which is a mix of Kabbalistic principles and gaming tropes. Then the rest of the races, which in turn determined the landscape, the politics, and everything else. Arthur: The first line of ANOTHER STUPID SPELL is: “Me smart orc.” You had me right there. There’s a lot of writing theory about developing a great first line of a book, even beyond that to first[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #16 – K. M. Weiland

Highlights Writing a lot is the only thing that will improve our writing. The importance of outlining and the time it takes to write a great novel. Writing novels takes several years. Welcome to the sixteenth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with historical and speculative fiction writer K. M. Weiland about her prolific writing abilities and growing her writing business. For those writers out there who feel they are taking too long to work on a particular project, this interview is for you. I’ve learned by reading extensively…and putting in many, many hours writing my own words. Arthur: Your website is fantastic, filled with great articles with writing tips and your books, both fiction and non-fiction. Writing is also your full-time job. Did you always want to be a writer? Did you study writing in any school, or have you done what most of us do, just learn by writing? Katie: Becoming a writer wasn’t so much a decision. It just happened—which is how I think the right things in life usually happen. I grew up horse crazy, spent part of every summer working on a friend’s cattle ranch in Wyoming, and thought I’d end up being a horse trainer. But somewhere in high school, I realized I was having more fun staying inside and writing than I was going outside and riding. So after graduation, I sold the horses and[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #15 – Sean Stone

Highlights Why outlining your story is critical to efficient writing. Writing dialogue in a way so all your characters don’t sound the same. How positioning our writing desks can improve our writing productivity. Welcome to the fifteenth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with horror writer Sean Stone about what influences the events in his stories and how to write better dialogue. Books with outlines are both easier to write and just better constructed. Arthur: On your About page, you note that you work as a lab technician. I’m assuming writing is not your full-time job. What is your writing schedule and how do you find time to write? Sean: That’s right, I have to fit writing around my day job. I usually do a couple hours of writing in the evening after work. I also dedicate one of my days off to writing. Sometimes I get a bit of writing done on my lunch break, too. Arthur: You have a great collection of books and stories you’ve authored. Describe your typical writing session. Are you a fast writer, just trying to get words on the page and finish the first draft? Or are you a slow writer, making sure every sentence is one that could be etched in stone? Sean: I try to write fast and just get those words down, but I’m rarely successful. I usually sit[…] [Keep Reading]